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Saturday, March 2, 2024

Crimson Bull in “one other league” with Baku F1 1-2

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Friday and Saturday qualifying topper Leclerc had launched cleanly to comfortably maintain off front-row rival Verstappen into Flip 1 on the race begin.

However the Ferrari driver was then left weak as DRS was activated in the beginning of lap three of 51, with the chasing defending champion reducing the 0.4-second hole earlier than utilizing the overtaking support to move over the road.

A compliant Leclerc was then deposed to his eventual third place in the beginning of lap six, as victor Perez did just like his team-mate by activating DRS to overhaul on the within run to Flip 1.

As Perez and Verstappen pushed each other in the battle for the win, Leclerc fell 21.217s behind the lead duo come the chequered flag, though he pipped fourth-placed Fernando Alonso by 0.8s.

This margin left Leclerc to declare that Crimson Bull stay in “one other league” to Ferrari in the case of race tempo, with the Monegasque additionally having ceded the lead to Perez in the Saturday sprint race.

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Leclerc stated: “[Red Bull] are in one other league as soon as it involves [the] race.

“Over 51 laps, it was simply not potential. They’ve a lot extra tempo than we do in race tempo.

“I feel they discovered one thing that we did not but. That is the place our focus is in the intervening time, everyone’s working flat out to attempt to perceive what we are able to do within the races, particularly to only get extra efficiency.”

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF-23

Picture by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

Nevertheless, Leclerc did take some solace from the set-up tweaks made by Ferrari in Australia, which have unlocked extra tempo and have carried over to the aggressive exhibiting in Azerbaijan.

Requested if he felt the hole to Crimson Bull was narrowing in any respect, he stated: “Truthfully, the sensation is a little bit bit higher. However after I see the hole, and I am fairly certain that when you may have this sort of hole, you are in all probability not pushing 100%.

“We do not actually understand how a lot we’ve closed the hole. The sensation is a little bit bit higher.

“However once more, additionally the Aston Martin was actually fast. right now. So we nonetheless have lots of work.”

Having stored Aston Martin’s Alonso at bay to finish the two-time champion’s run of podium finishes in 2023, Leclerc added: “He was pushing.

“I knew what his intentions have been at the start, as a result of he at all times does that, attempting to maintain the tyres at the start of the stint and push on the finish. So, I attempted to do the identical.

“And on the finish, it was shut, however not sufficient for Fernando right now.”

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